What is a ganglion cyst? A ganglion cyst is a fluid filled mass that can occur in any area of the body including the foot and ankle. They usually form around joints or tendons.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A GANGLION CYST?
Raised mass or “ball” just under the skin
Can be soft or hard to the touch
Can be painful when irritated
Causes burning or numbness if pressing against the nerve
Can grow slowly or quickly
Usually a single mass, but can be multiple
Can come and go if accidentally “popped” and refills
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF A GANGLION CYST?
With repetitive trauma to the soft tissue of a joint (capsule) or tendons. These structures can become damaged. This can be from a spur or arthritis at the joint or tendon. The area will fill with natural fluid that is already within these structures. The joint or tendon will then expand and “balloon” underneath the skin and become visible. If the cyst continues to become irritated it can continue to enlarge and become more painful.
HOW IS A GANLGION CYST DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis is achieved by the clinical examination and ultrasound imaging of the patient. Dr. Heath will listen to the patient’s complaints and symptoms. The examination involves a hands-on-analysis of the patient’s foot
and the cyst. Diagnostic ultrasound of the cyst may be performed to examine the source of the cyst its size and will be discussed with the patient. Sometimes aspiration of the cyst fluid for analysis may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Plain film x-rays till often be taken to examine the underlying joints.
HOW IS A GANLGION CYST TREATED?
A ganglion cyst does not have to be treated if it is not painful and does not impede the use of shoes, or numbness. Ganglion cysts are typically benign lesions. They usually do not harm the body unless they push on hard on a nerve or tendon.
When they are painful or make it difficult to use certain shoes, they can be surgically removed.
ASPIRATION OF A GANLGION CYST
About a 10%o success rate.
Aspiration of a cyst is the removal of the fluid through a syringe and needle. All the fluid from the cyst will
be drained. The fluid is then sent to a lab for analysis to confirm the diagnosis.
ln office procedure
Relative minimal pain
Needle is placed into the cyst
Fluid is drained using a syringe
High recurrence rate
SURGICAL REMOVAL OF GANLGION CYST
Surgical removal of the cyst is the gold standard of treatment for problematic and recurring cysts. Perform in an operating room under general or at a same day surgical center and sometimes in office under local anesthesia with oral sedation. The entire cyst and its damaged tissue is removed. The “stalk” where the cyst originated from its closed to reduce recurrence. If a bone spur is at base of the cyst it is also removed. Immediate walking in a special shoe. Very low recurrence rate.